Friday, April 26, 2024

Spring Season is Here

This is that time of year where activity perks up in real estate. New listings will come online at a faster clip. Buyers will start 'kicking tires' and looking at homes. This can be a good opportunity for sellers to get out in front of the market surge the may be coming as we progress deeper into spring. 

Our local market tends to see a 20-25% bump in activity during the spring and summer months usually starting in April or May. The current situation with mortgage rates is such that buyers are starting to make the adjustments to the current rates. We have been pretty stable on rates since the big hike in 2021. Buyers will adapt, banks will adapt, sales will occur. 

For buyers banks are already creating opportunities for buyers. Buyers can be optimistic about the sales cycle this years as prices are holding steady. Banks are trying to create opportunity. Seller's are more motivated.

It could be a good year after all.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Is Urban Living Returning to America?

originally posted in The Couv Life 7/17/2023 by Rod Sager

Decades ago the post war boom started and a new type of neighborhood emerged with cute culdesacs and curvy streets. Homes were built with oversize lots and everything was centered around the automobile. American's ate it up and millions of these houses in suburbia were built and are still being built today. In the 1980s and 90s America's Downtown areas were in rough shape. The age of the suburban shopping mall and highway bypasses left many cities with an urban core in serious decline. The once happy Downtown excitement became a dismal study in urban decay. It was sad really, as some of our nation's most spectacular architecture was on display in the old city center in nearly every town.

But these days I am seeing a massive resurgence in Downtown Living. Not just here in America's Vancouver but all across the fruited plains of our nation. I saw it in Lafayette, IN and Covington, KY. I am seeing it in many places as people are now flocking to the hustle and bustle of the city, even in smaller cities and towns.

Vancouver USA is all over this trend. Not just Downtown and the Waterfront, but the new Palisades development on 192nd and the New Heights District that is under design right now. It seems a new generation of Americans may be longing for that old world city life and communities across the land are building it from high-rises to more modest mid-rise buildings. A new era of urban living is spreading like wildfire. Dense urban development tends to foster a community bond as people walk around the neighborhood, shopping and dining while on foot rather than driving. There can be no doubt this is a big deal to a large group of Americans as Vancouver can't get enough of these modern mid-rise and high-rise residential projects. Vacancy in the city center locally is in the low single digits. 

So it seems, America is returning to the old urban living model and Vancouver USA is all over the scene. To follow Vancouver's urban living check out Urban Living in the Couv here.

Ah the Couv life; it is good.

Friday, April 12, 2024

The market is humming a healthy tune

The numbers were published for last month by the MLS and data shows Clark County, WA was rather healthy. 750 new listings were posted against 610 new pending sales. A total of 1073 units were active and 497 units closed. The inventory remains stable at 2.2 months which still favors sellers. The MLS reported the median home price for new listings in March at $560,000 with the median sold price at $525,000. Despite the advantage to sellers, the median price has remained steady. Buyers are rather limited as rates and incomes are not lining up as nicely as they did a few years ago. 

Most of the activity is in the median price range about plus or minus 10% of the median. This means the sellers looking to part ways with homes between $450-$600k are in really good shape. There are plenty of buyers looking to get a home in this range. Most of the sellers in this range however are selling due to a career change to a new area or older folks retiring to warmer locales, people passing, etc.

The higher price ranges are definitely struggling a bit since that move up market is stifled a bit. There are many homeowners sitting on those 3% loans in their three bedroom two bath house that would love to make the move up to something bigger or nicer, but the new loan will be at 7% and they just can't swing that new payment.

There are ways to make it happen, especially for those with large equity positions. Potential sellers should not presume they can move up. Check to see where your equity position is, what you need to borrow to make that next move up. Maybe you can, maybe you can't, but it is worth a shot.

We do not know if we will see higher or lower prices next year. But if there is a correction, then that can chew up your equity position. Sometimes it is best to stay put, sometimes there is an opportunity to move up. It is wise to avoid assumptions.

Overall the numbers from last month reflect a healthy market that should be sustainable over the long haul.